Friday, August 22, 2008

Since You Asked--August 22, 2008 Edition

DEAR ABBY: I'm afraid my best friend's daughter, "Kami," may have Munchausen syndrome. People with this condition consciously fake the symptoms of a physical disorder.

Kami is 30, a former nurse, and married with a toddler. She lives to be sick. She is always in the emergency room for something. Kami often claims she has cancer and is dying. In fact, she recently told me proudly that she had "died" twice. Ladies from her church clean her house and bring her meals because they think she's at death's door, yet Kami and her husband are planning a water-skiing and snorkeling vacation.

Kami's husband and parents are extremely protective of her and become defensive if anyone suggests that Kami may not really be physically ill. A sister-in-law who mentioned Munchausen is no longer spoken to.

The final straw for me came when she arrived late to a wedding, making the grand entrance in a wheelchair, and by the end of the night was on her feet swing dancing at the reception.

She's losing friends, because to be friends with Kami means you are completely invested in her illness. Most people are staying away. She exhausts us.

I care for this young woman and her family, but don't know how to help her. Have you any thoughts?


I’m guessing that before “Kami’s” kid came along, she was the belle of the ball and the apple of her husband’s eye and he worshipped her. Now that baby makes three, the child is naturally (or at least should be) the primary focus of attention. As crazy as it sounds, Princess Kami’s not ready to let go of the tiara yet, and this malingering is her way of getting people to cluck and fuss over her. Her parents are not doing her any favors by encouraging this, and I hope she ends up moving in with them.

I don’t think she's got Munchausen syndrome or any other “syndrome.” I think she’s probably just a fussy, whiny little hypochondriac who’s surrounded by enablers. Her friends need to stop bringing her soup and just bring her a pair of pliers to pull her thumb out of her ass. She’s got a kid of her own now, so it’s time to stop acting like one before Social Services pays her a little visit.

DEAR ABBY: I want to thank all the wonderful people who make biking to work possible. I am a mid-40s professional and never thought I could do this, but I am. My goal was to bike at least once a week to work -- 15 miles each way -- and I have been doing it since May and loving it!

Thank you to the drivers who respect bikers, the municipalities who planned for safe cycling, and the companies that provide showers and lockers. It has been so much fun.

I never thought I could do this because of work schedules, kids' activities and weather, but with a little thought it works. It's good, fun exercise. Help the environment, save energy and get fit, America!



Shut up, asshole.

DEAR ELLIE: My live-in girlfriend is a hot Latin beauty who's brought fun into my life after my divorce. But she maintains contact with her estranged husband and hasn't completed a separation agreement with him after three years apart. Lately she's been staying out late, even gone for a whole weekend, and not explained where she's been.



Getting suspicious, huh? Boy, there are no flies on you!

Considering that your little hotcake is still married and doesn’t show any signs of separating and divorcing after three years, I’d say your suspicions are well-founded and you’re pretty slow on the uptake. Let me guess—you’re also paying the rent, aren’t you?

I wonder how “estranged” this husband is…my guess is there are plenty of conjugal visits going on, and since they’re still legally wed (and not even formally separated), that makes you “the other man.” Are you willing to settle for that?

I think Senorita Thing is just having a little “fun,” too.

DEAR MARGO: I have been with my fiancé for almost a year and am deeply in love with him. We're planning a future together and talk about it often; however, I have a slight problem with his "religious beliefs." He was raised a Christian, yet we have sex on a regular basis.

I plan to move in with my sister and her fiancé to a two-bedroom apartment next month, and I asked my boyfriend to move in, as well. He declined, his reason being, "My religion does not believe in living in sin." He is OK with our sleeping together, though. I also believe that his parents would give him grief over our living together.

My problem is this: I was at first angry with his "buffet style" beliefs, but made peace with it and set a few rules for when I do move in with my sister and her fiance: He cannot spend more than one night a week at my apartment, and he cannot come over every single day to use the electricity and eat the food. If he wants to spend more time at my place, I will have him pay rent because it would be just like he is living there. Everyone says I'm being mean and trying to "punish" him for not moving in. Am I being harsh or just asking something reasonable of any ''squatter''?



Are you going into the hospitality field? Because it seems as if you’re looking for a hotel guest. If so, this might be great practice. I say it’s fine for you to charge him rent for the time he spends at your place, provided that you throw in maid service. (Thank heavens you’re letting him spend that one night a week without paying—otherwise, I might have thought there was a different business arrangement going on here!)

Whatever your ultimate goal is, I think you can drop “deeply in love” out of the equation, because if you really were, you wouldn’t even think of charging him rent for coming over to visit. Even your family thinks you’re being a bitch. Take the hint.

And eating the food?? Seriously?? C’mon—get a grip—how much trouble is it to cook five pork chops instead of four? Of course you’re punishing him for not wanting to move in together, but it’s likely to backfire if he finds another girl who will give him his pork chops for free. Besides, his “Christian beliefs” are obviously based on his parents’ wishes, not his own. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be doing the Horizontal Hip-Hop with you already.

If you want to punish someone, punish the parents—try organizing a parade of Hare Krishnas on their street, or arranging for all polyester garment-makers to go on strike, or putting all the garden gnome manufacturers in their area out of business. One of those should hit them where they live.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: The service people who come to my home—handymen, repairmen, food delivery, etc.—all seem to think I want to hear about their lives, their health and even their pets. I feel as though I am being held captive and paying for it as well.

I don't want to be rude because I need the services they were hired to do, but I think they are rude for using my time. I do not want to be their friend, and I am not interested in their lives. All I want is for them to provide the service they have been hired to do. Is there a polite way to get this message across without coming on too strong?



Coming from you, I doubt it. But consider this: as long as they’re working while they’re talking, and performing the “service they have been hired to do,” you have no cause for complaint. I understand that it may be uncomfortable to hear the life story of a relative stranger, but these people probably perform very monotonous work, and tend to view their individual customers as the only thing that makes one job distinguishable from another. Plus, they haven’t had the benefit of your superior training in social class divides, Lady Bellamy.

If you don’t want to converse, it’s not that big a deal—you can make a polite excuse about having to go check on something in another part of the house. No harm, no foul. You do know what “polite” is, don’t you? Can you bear to be pleasant to a mere plebe for even a few moments?? Heavens, I hope so. Otherwise, you’d better keep these avenues of conversation open. They’ll soon be the only ones you have.


Blogger American Girl said...

You should have told the Mean Landlord to charge her finace for the other services she provides to him. Afterall, Christians (even those who are getting some unmarried pussy) have been known to think of women who have sex without benefit of marriage as whores.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard of some people who claimed their child was dying and got a free trip to Disneyworld. Then the child made a miraculous recovery and all those around say Hmmmm!
Please check the address of George in the second letter. It should read: 1600 Pennsylvania avenue Washington D.C.
Tell getting suspicous not to worry I'm sure the Senora is loyal to her esposo. Unfortunatly, that's not him.
The letter from the girl dating a christian was hilarious. The guy is afraid of his mother and always will be. Tell him to grow a pair and go tell her he's fucking his fiance' and what is she gong to do about it?
You're advice to the Ice Box lady to stay away from the hired help is good except she can't look down their ass cracks from another room, which she finds to be a big turn on. ed

11:05 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Sarah: Good point...obviously, this girl is trying to send a message to the fiance that it's time to put up or shut up or call the whole thing off. But I think she just needs to tell him that flat out, and open up some kind of conversation about why it's OK to have sex but not live together. I mean, WTF?! How is it a sin to share closet space, but NOT to engage in pre-marital rumpy-pumpy? That guy's reasoning is very convenient for him. But she needs to explain this to him instead of "making peace" with the "buffet-style" beliefs. Peace, my ass! Call him on it! But don't be petty and nickel and dime him for things. That looks stingy, not assertive, and sends the wrong message.

Ed: I never thought of the Ass-Crack Quotient. I got the impression, rather, that she think's that service people are "beneath" her. Those seem to be the types that write in to Miss Manners (a/k/a The Old Pomeranian). But your theory is an interesting one...

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that if she felt the repairman was beneath her she would just tell him to do his job and cut the conversation. I've heard there are people that get off looking at blue collar men. (not me of course but someone else) Unless the lady lives in a one room cabin she could just retire to another area, the parlor perhaps. But then that would defeat the purpose of having put her Sunbeam Mixers beaters down the garbage disposal. Oh, God a man in jeans with a Utility belt showiing Butt crack, swoon, I mean not me of course. ed

10:21 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Oh face it, Ed, anybody who's writing to Miss Manners is as asexual as Lawrence Welk. She just wanted to feel superior...she should spend more time in the garden or something. Then she wouldn't even have to be in the house while they're there!

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if it's the Gardener that she feels superior too? I mean it could be just about anybody now right? Maybe she should put up a sign: DON'T BOTHER ME WITH THE DETAILS JUST DO IT!!!! ed

5:40 PM  

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